Amazon has launched their official pre-order of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm which sets the bar on when this expansion will be released. The price tag for this pre-order is $39.99.

USA and Canada residents can pre-order World of Warcraft: Cataclysm here and UK/Europe residents here. Better to have a copy secured than to join a lengthy row of people and find the copies are gone by the time you are near the counter.

Edit: There is no definite way to predict when World of Warcraft: Cataclysm comes out based on the pre-order starting dates. Some pre-orders in the past were set right after Blizzard announced the expansion at Blizzcon. What can be arguably debatable is whether we will have no expansion until November 2010 or beyond. Patch 3.3 [Icecrown Citadel] was the last major content.

Back during the last days of the Burning Crusade expansion, the Fury of the Sunwell was released as the last major content patch bridging the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.

Patch 2.4: Fury of the Sunwell was released on March 25, 2008
Patch 3.0 Echoes of Doom (Wrath of the Lich King) was released on November 13, 2008.

There was a lapse of 8 months between the Sunwell and the release of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Let’s not forget the WotLK closed beta started on July 18, 2008. Which means, closed beta lasted roughly nigh 4 months.

Let’s take a look at release dates of Wrath of the Lich King major content patches. Each separated by four months of development from each other.

Patch 3.1: Secrets of Ulduar was released on April 14, 2009
Patch 3.2: Call of the Crusade was released on August 4, 2009.
Patch 3.3: Fall of the Lich King was released on December 8, 2009.

If we use the previous expansion trend of 8 months between the Fury of the Sunwell and Wrath of the Lich King release date (8 months) versus Fall of the Lich King and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm … that would place closed beta around April 2010 and the release date of Cataclysm around August 2010. At this point it’s hard to make predictions, but I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at past history and trends.

At this point, if Blizzard aims for November 2010 as a release date, that would place players into a position where they have to digest raiding Arthas for 11 months before seeing the Cataclysm expansion. The only way possible is if there were more content patches to gap the bridge between the Arthas encounter and the Cataclysm expansion. Back in the Burning Crusade, while Illidan was the main villain of the expansion, the WoW Team released patch 2.3.0: The gods of Zul’aman and patch 2.4.0: The Fury of the Sunwell. We will have to wait and see. Blizzard has only confirmed a world event prior to the Cataclysm expansion, but there haven’t been any mentions of new content patches beyond patch 3.3: Fall of the Lich King.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Product Features:

  • Two New Playable Races – Goblins and Worgen
  • Level Cap Increased to 85
  • Classic Zones Remade
  • New High-Level Zones
  • Flying Mounts in Azeroth